Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra on Tuesday said the so-called “love jihad” bill will soon be introduced in the state assembly and it includes five years imprisonment for “violators”. The charge will be cognizable and non-bailable, Mishra told reporters.
“There will be provision to declare marriages taking place forcefully, out of fraud or by tempting someone, for religious conversion, null and void. Those assisting in committing this crime will also be considered a party to the crime,” Mishra said.
The term ‘Love Jihad’ not been defined under any existing law. The term is a hate campaign and false propaganda run by extremist Hindutva forces claiming that Muslim men lure non-Muslim girls, and trick them into marriage and force them to accept Islam.
Other provisions of the Bill include notifying the district collector a month in advance before formalising an inter-faith marriage.
The issue was revived after the family of a 21-year-old girl who was shot dead outside her college had alleged that the accused had been pressuring the girl to convert and marry him.
Recently, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said the government will take strong measures to put an end to religious conversion for the sake of marriages.
Besides Madhya Pradesh, Haryana too said that it will study the laws made by other states and set up a committee to draft a “strict” law against “love jihad”.
“A strict law will be enacted against ‘love jihad’ in the state. A committee will be constituted to draft this law,” said Vij, who chaired a meeting with senior officials of the home department, according to an official statement.
The home minister, according to the statement, said that “with the enactment of this law, strict action will be taken against any person who is found indulging in religious conversion by pressuring, tempting someone or is involved in any kind of conspiracy or tries to do so in the name of love”.
Earlier this year, the Government informed Parliament that no cases of ‘love jihad’ have been reported by any of the central agencies and the term is not defined under any existing law. Union Minister of State for Home G Kisha n Reddy said Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees the freedom to profess, practice and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health. Various courts, including the Kerala High Court, have upheld this view. “The term ‘love jihad’ is not defined under the extant laws. No such case of ‘love jihad’ has been reported by any of the central agencies,” he said in reply to a written question.